About Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a rehabilitation profession with a presence in all health care delivery streams in Ontario: hospitals, long-term care facilities, home care, community-based clinics, schools, private practice clinics and primary care networks. It is regulated in Ontario under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA).

Physiotherapy is a drug-free health care practice. Physiotherapists work in partnership with individuals of all ages to break down the barriers to physical function whether that means working with patients pre and post surgery, helping people come back from illness and chronic disease, injury, industrial and motor vehicle accidents and age related conditions. Physiotherapists also play an important role in health promotion and disease prevention. Physiotherapy is the treatment of preference for many who suffer from pain whether in the back or neck, or joint pain such as hips, knees, ankles, wrists, elbows or shoulders.

Physiotherapy has proven to be effective in the treatment and management of arthritis, diabetes, stroke and traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and a range of respiratory conditions offering those afflicted with tools and techniques to acquire and maintain an optimum level of function and pain free living.

What is a Physiotherapist

A physiotherapist is a university educated health professional and a recognized member of your health care team.

Physiotherapists work in many areas including: cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, neurology, paediatrics, women’s health, seniors’ health, and sports.

When you see a physiotherapist, he or she will complete an extensive assessment that may include your health history, evaluation of pain and movement patterns, strength, joint range of motion, reflexes, sensation and cardiorespiratory status. In addition, the physiotherapist examines relevant xrays, laboratory tests, medical records and surgical notes. Based on this assessment the physiotherapist establishes a diagnosis and works in partnership with you to develop individualized goals and treatment programs.

Physiotherapy treatment can include therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, acupuncture, electrical modalities such as TENS or ultrasound, and work hardening. A physiotherapist promotes independence. Emphasis is placed on what you can do for yourself and on education to prevent future injuries or disability.

Benefits of Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy can make a difference in an individual’s ability to live an active, healthy lifestyle. For many seniors, disabled or chronically ill people, physiotherapy is the key to restoring and maintaining a level of physical function that permits independent living. Physiotherapy is one way to successfully push physical limitations to secure the Freedom to Function™.

Physiotherapy benefits include decreasing pain, improving joint mobility, increasing strength and coordination and improved cardiorespiratory function. Everyone can benefit from physiotherapy whether you are living with a chronic illness, recovering from a work injury or suffering after that weekend hockey game.

Physiotherapy increases your independence and gives you the Freedom to Function™ in your home, workplace or your favorite leisure activity. Physiotherapy offers a range of specialized services of benefit to patients with heart and lung disease, traumatic, workplace and athletic injuries, amputations, arthritic joints, stroke, brain injury, spinal cord and nerve injury, cancer and pre- and postsurgical needs.
The Value of Physiotherapy
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To influence change it is important that statements are supported by evidence-based data. The OPA recently undertook a large literature review that focused on four conditions that have been identified as adding to the mounting health care costs in Ontario and the role that physiotherapy can play: Falls in the Frail Elderly, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)/Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), and Stroke. The research shows that not only does physiotherapy treatment benefit the patient, but it is also a cost-effective measure that can help ensure the sustainability of the Ontario health care system.

Common Questions

Do we need a doctor’s referral to seek physiotherapy services?

You do not need a doctor’s referral for physiotherapy. However, if you are going to use your health insurance to cover the cost of therapy, the insurance provider may ask you for a doctor’s referral.

How can I be sure that physiotherapy is right for my health problem?

Physiotherapy focuses on removing the cause of the problem as opposed to superficially treating the symptoms. This process may take some time, but the results are often more permanent with less chance of the disorder returning.

What can I expect on my first appointment with a physiotherapist?

Although each clinic’s approach to intake, assessment and therapy do vary, generally speaking your physiotherapist will ask a series of questions that will help better describe all of your symptoms in detail. Your physiotherapist can then carry out your assessment. The physiotherapist will examine you physically and discuss the findings, the cause of the problem, and suggest a solution that can effectively treat your health problem

How long does each physiotherapy session last?

The first appointment usually takes about an hour for a full assessment. Subsequent treatments can be shorter or longer depending upon the condition and the treatment required. Subsequent physiotherapy treatments can be twenty to thirty minutes in length.

What treatments are used by physiotherapists?

The treatment administered by physiotherapists varies and can range from exercise, manipulation, stretching, and soft tissue massage among other therapy options. At times, ultrasound electrotherapy or acupuncture may be also used. Electrotherapy is the usage of electrical energy to accelerate the healing process, reduce inflammation, muscle spasm and pain